IMAGE: Bangladesh duo of Mehidy Hasan and Zakir Hasan run between the wickets during the ICC under-19 World Cup quarter-final agaist Nepal. Photograph: ICC
Hosts Bangladesh defeated a valiant Nepal by six wickets after a tense run-chase to storm into the semi-finals of the ICC under-19 World Cup on Friday, giving the nation its maiden appearance in the last four of a world event.
Skipper Mehidy Hasan and Zakir Hasan hit unbeaten half-centuries as Bangladesh recovered from early setbacks to surpass Nepal's 211 for nine with 10 balls to spare in Mirpur. The match was produced by ICC TV and aired around the world by 15 broadcasters.
Bangladesh face the winner of Monday's quarter-final between Pakistan and the West Indies in the second semi-final at Mirpur on 11 February. The first semi-final on Tuesday (in Mirpur) will feature the winners of quarter-final matches between India-Namibia and England-Sri Lanka.
Nepal's captain Raju Rijal hit 72 (80b, 8x4, 1x6) after winning the toss and electing to bat, but four run-outs in the innings, including that of the captain himself, set his team back.
Nepal slipped to 178 for seven in 43 overs but useful contributions in the end from Dipendra Airee and Prem Tamang, who made 22 apiece, lifted it past the 200-run mark.
Right-arm seamer Mohammad Saifuddin was the pick of the bowlers for Bangladesh, giving away just four runs in the final over to return with figures of two for 38.
Bangladesh, mentored by former Australia international Stuart Law, was made to fight hard for runs as Nepal's bowlers conceded just 21 runs in the first 10 overs.
The home team was reduced to 98 for four in the 29th over when Mehidy joined Zakir to add a match-winning partnership of 117 for the unbroken fifth wicket.
Left-handed Zakir, who scored an unbeaten 75 from 103 balls, ended the match by lofting Airee for a six over long-on. He also hit five fours. Mehidy returned undefeated on 55 from 65 balls, which also included three fours.
"It is so exciting to be part of the first Bangladesh team to enter the semi-final of a World Cup," a jubilant Mehidy said, adding: "I think Nepal played a very good game. They did their best with both bat and ball. They are a very good side that we have beaten today.
"Zakir played so well and kept supporting me. He told me that we should try to take singles and twos because the boundaries were not easy to get. That worked well for us.
"We look forward to the semi-final. Hopefully we will raise our game and do our best to enter the final."
Nepal: 211-9 (50 overs) (Raju Rijal 72, Dipendra Airee 22, Prem Tamang 22 not out; Mohammad Saifuddin 2-38)
Bangladesh: 215-4 (48.2 overs) (Zakir Hasan 75 not out, Mehidy Hasan 55 not out; Sunil Dhamala 2-33)